House District 72 covers Tama County and parts of Marshall and Black Hawk counties.
Name: Mindy Benson
Occupation: Tama County emergency manager and 911 director
Education: Associate degree, police science
What are the three most important issues facing Iowans, and how would you address them?
• Keeping Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System a safe retirement system for those currently enrolled and those who will be enrolled in the future. IPERS is currently self-sustaining, and to continue to be this way, there needs to be a governance or oversight commission to keep this going.
• Make emergency medical services an essential service across Iowa to keep ambulance services available in townships to respond to calls. EMS needs to be considered an essential service just as fire departments are across Iowa.
Do you believe the state should increase the minimum wage? If yes, to what level?
Yes. Iowa does need to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour. It is impossible to maintain a home, and family on minimum wage. This is an extremely difficult and heavily discussed topic across Iowa. To stay what level is difficult. What may work in rural areas of our state may work in Tama, but it will not work in Des Moines. This maybe an issue we may always be split across the board on, and need a lot of discussion on.
Would you vote to roll back the state income tax cuts passed last session? Would you expand them?
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I would like to see the financial numbers to see how the cuts were either a benefit or negative to Iowa citizens, commercial businesses. Based upon those then we can formulate on how to move forward.
Would you vote to end or phase out the property tax “backfill” for local governments?
The backfill for local governments should be phased out. This would provided local governments time to make reasonable changes and adapt to the reductions in funds over time rather than an abrupt end to that funding stream.
Would you vote to ban automated traffic cameras/enforcement devices? If no, would you favor bringing them under state regulation?
I do not necessarily feel that traffic cameras should be banned, but used in other effective ways. Cameras can be used for investigation purposes, such as motor vehicle incidents on roadways or intersections. At this time with less than half the state of Iowa using cameras for enforcement there should be no reason for bringing them under state regulation. Counties or cities should have a statute regulating them.
Would you vote to expand Iowa’s current medical cannabis law? Legalize marijuana?
I would like to see how other states are using medical cannabis to help their citizens and take those lessons to help make our state better and more proactive. There is no reason that our citizens should be looking to move to other states for medical treatments because they can obtain cannabis for pain, seizures, Parkinson’s or numerous other medical conditions.
Should Iowa amend the state Constitution to protect the right to bear arms beyond current language? Would you support a “constitutional carry” change to Iowa’s firearm permit system that would significantly expand gun rights?
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I do feel that Iowa’s Constitution should follow the federal Constitution on the right to bear arms. In regards to constitutional carry, I do not see or feel that having a weapons permit is anything that should be outside of the norm to ask. We have to be licensed to drive a vehicle, take trainings for certain jobs, then a weapons permit should not be an outside of the realm to ask. The days of when this amendment was written have changed; it is time to change as well.
Would you support giving counties local control to regulate livestock facilities? Would you favor a moratorium on new large CAFO construction?
I favor the family farm and small farms over CAFOs. I am in support of counties and states working together to regulate livestock facilities to ensure that there are not environmental and public health impacts.
A Moratorium can only last so long, if Iowa is going to move toward CAFO’s we need to start enacting laws now for environmental and public health reasons.
What are your thoughts on increasing funding for public education? Would you vote to extend 1-cent SAVE sales tax for school infrastructure until 2049?
Funding for public schools needs to increase. I would be in favor of extending the 1-cent sales tax for school infrastructure until 2049 or further. I believe the sales tax helps schools with their infrastructure, as well as technology.
Would you expand or repeal Iowa’s law barring doctors from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected?
This is an extremely difficult and emotional topic to discuss. No matter the answer, people will always be divided on this topic. I personally feel this law should be repealed.